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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the Scottish McBean family come from? What is the Scottish McBean family crest and coat of arms? When did the McBean family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the McBean family history?

In ancient Scotland, the ancestors of the McBean family were part of a tribe called the Picts. The name McBean is derived from the Gaelic word Beathan or betha which means life. Bean was also the name of a saint in the Breviary of Aberdeen.

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The appearance of the printing press and the first dictionaries in the last few hundred years did much to standardize spelling. Prior to that time scribes spelled according to sound, a practice that resulted in many spelling variations. McBean has been spelled Bean, Beane, Beyn, Bayn, Bene, Bane, Baine, Beine, Bayne, Beyne, Been, Beaine, MacBain, MacBean, MacVain, MacBean, MacVan and many more.

First found in Aberdeen (part of the modern Grampian region), where one of the first times the name arose was a Bean who was a magistrate circa 1210. It is known, however, that the MacBains moved to Invernessshire, as sod bearers to the Chiefs of the great Clan Chattan (a powerful confederation of early Clans). The name literally means "son of the fair lad," and was frequently translated to MacBean (Bain).


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McBean research. Another 194 words(14 lines of text) covering the years 1400, 1411, 1550, and 1745 are included under the topic Early McBean History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early McBean Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the McBean family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 89 words(6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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The expense of the crossing to the North American colonies seemed small beside the difficulties of remaining in Scotland. It was a long and hard trip, but at its end lay the reward of freedom. Some Scots remained faithful to England and called themselves United Empire Loyalists, while others fought in the American War of Independence. Much of this lost Scottish heritage has been recovered in the last century through Clan societies and other patriotic Scottish organizations. A search of immigration and passenger lists revealed many important, early immigrants to North America bearing the name of McBean:

McBean Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Daniel McBean, who arrived in Virginia in 1716
  • Francis McBean, who arrived in Maryland in 1716
  • William McBean, who arrived in Maryland in 1716
  • Mary McBean, who landed in New York in 1773

McBean Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Gillis McBean, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1812
  • John McBean, who arrived in Ohio in 1830
  • Alexander McBean, who arrived in Ohio in 1840
  • David McBean, who landed in Mississippi in 1850
  • Angus McBean, who landed in Ohio in 1855


McBean Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • Ewen McBean, aged 33, who settled in America from Leeds, in 1900
  • Athol McBean, aged 23, who landed in America from Cork, in 1903
  • Anna McBean, aged 51, who emigrated to America from Melbourne, Australia, in 1904
  • John McBean, aged 59, who emigrated to the United States from Melbourne, Australia, in 1904
  • John McBean, aged 28, who landed in America from Glasgow, in 1907


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  • Alvin O'Neal "Al" McBean (b. 1938), American retired professional Major League Baseball player
  • Ryan McBean (b. 1984), American professional football defensive end
  • John Lucas "Jack" McBean (b. 1994), American soccer player from Newport Beach, California
  • Major-General William McBean VC (1818-1878), Scottish lieutenant in the 93rd Regiment of Foot, recipient of the Victoria Cross
  • Angus Rowland McBean (1904-1990), Welsh stage photographer
  • Marnie Elizabeth McBean (b. 1968), Canadian three-time gold medalist Olympic rower
  • Wayne "Beaner" McBean (b. 1969), Canadian retired NHL ice hockey defenceman
  • Dr. Gordon McBean, Canadian climatologist, Chairman of the board of trustees of the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences, Professor at the University of Western Ontario, former Assistant Deputy Minister of Meteorological Service of Canada
  • Brett McBean (b. 1978), Australian Ned Kelly Award winning horror and speculative fiction writer


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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Touch not the catt bot a targe
Motto Translation: Touch not the cat without a shield.

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  1. Fulton, Alexander. Scotland and Her Tartans: The Romantic Heritage of the Scottish Clans and Families. Godalming: Bramley, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-86283-880-0).
  2. Scarlett, James D. Tartan The Highland Textile. London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 1990. Print. (ISBN 0-85683-120-4).
  3. Scots Kith and Kin And Illustrated Map Revised 2nd Edition. Edinburgh: Clan House/Albyn. Print.
  4. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  5. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  6. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  7. Paul, Sir James Balfour. An Ordinary of Arms Contained in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland Second Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1903. Print.
  8. Skene, William Forbes Edition. Chronicles of the Picts, Chronicles of the Scots and Other Early Memorials of Scottish History. Edinburgh: H.M. General Register House, 1867. Print.
  9. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. Acts of Malcom IV 1153-65 Volume I Regesta Regum Scottorum 1153-1424. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1960. Print.
  10. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  11. ...

The McBean Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McBean Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 17 January 2014 at 19:51.

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